This proposal intends to propose the implementation of a mobile responsive website to be used by City of Tshwane Municipality residents for the submission of their monthly water meter readings. According to Mazibuko (2014) the enabling function is important in that municipalities are able to level the playing field in terms of improving the quality of municipal billing systems to impact positively on revenue collection so that the participants in the economy are able to assist in the generation of economic growth as well as achieving payment by residents for services rendered to them by municipalities. It is therefore crucial for the process of gathering this information to be accurate. When residents have confidence in the correctness of water meter readings, they will most likely pay their bills. This therefore suggests that if the process can be digitalized to allow residents to submit their readings, they can also be able to track their water usage and it will be unlikely that they would dispute readings they have submitted themselves. The scanned image submitted via a mobile responsive website will serve as proof to protect both the municipality and the resident.
1. Introduction 3
2. Problem Statement 4
3. Research questions 5
3.1 Main Question 5
3.2 Specific Questions 5
4. Research Objectives 5
4.1 Main Objectives 5
4.2 Specific Objectives 5
5. Literature Review 6
6. Research Methodology 6
7. Conclusion 7
Use of mobile responsive website for water meter reading Submission in the city of Tshwane
In recent years, the use of technology and mobile phones has increased and it has been part of our daily lives. According to Prinsloo et al. (2016) The development of handheld computing devices including smartphones provide new data collection opportunities. These new data collection opportunities therefore raises the need for municipalities to follow suit in implementation systems which move with the times. Moloto (2016) states that water is an economic good, there is therefore a need to device ways in the water sector that will promote efficiency, equity and sustainability. In the City of Tshwane, municipal services are classified as basic services which residents expect in order to get on with their daily activities. Such services mostly refer to water, they also refer to billing and accounting services that are provided to all ratepayers and registered businesses in the City of Tshwane (Khale and Worku, 2015).
Service delivery has been in the centre of discussions around South Africa and it is therefore vital for a municipality to ensure that it is billing its residents correctly to avoid unrest and strike action. As Lebatla(2017) has pointed out that most of the protests witnessed at municipal level in municipalities are as a result of chronic underperformance, lack of technical skills and the absence of a comprehensive performance monitoring and evaluation system. Dibetso (2016) articulates that satisfaction of using a utility reading system is based on utility readers having an advanced way of collecting readings in an effective manner that will generate accurate consumer bills. The use of a mobile friendly website which will ensure that the collection of water meter readings is captured accurately will ensure that this is achieved.
Digital data capture enables the collection of metadata, which is used to authenticate data without placing additional responsibility on users. Computerised systems have the ability reduce data faults caused by human error. Furthermore, computerised systems offer users a range of features which ensures complete data sets, as well as validation data. Data collection systems exists, but present many shortfalls or restrictions (Prinsloo et al., 2016). For this very reason, it is important to move with the times and use the technology advancement to the benefit of our municipality systems to restore confidence in service delivery.
According to Khale and Worku. (2015) the following factors were identified as common causes of dissatisfaction with the quality of municipal services provided to residents and ratepayers include Lack of skills on auditing, bookkeeping and accounting procedures that are necessary for resolving financial queries in the municipality. This will no longer be an issue when residents submitting meter readings online. According to Lebatla (2017) Service quality assurance requires the commitment to discourage underperformance and corruption. That is the reason for monitoring and evaluation programmes, which are helpful for ensuring value for money. A system which will allow residents in the city of Tshwane municipality to submit their meter reading from a scanned image taken from their phone which will help reduce high water billing and afford the residence an opportunity to pay for what they use.
2. Problem Statement
Water meter readings are one of the common data interactions which City of Tshwane Residents have with the municipality. In the City of Tshwane municipality, Water meter readings are submitted in one of the following ways, in an email, via the telephone or a water meter reader comes to capture. Should all of these not take place, an estimation takes effect. This leads to inaccurate billing, contradicting water meter reading estimates which leads to high billing and friction between the municipality and residents.
Prinsloo et al. (2016) suggests that the largest shortfall in municipalities is inaccuracy due to human error during the process of humans interaction with data creates a possible fault from human error. Possible errors can be made while: reading the meter, writing the meter reading down, typing values into a computer. These errors can occur when water meter captures take down water meter reading or data capturers capture into the system form water meter readings submitted by telephone or email.
3. Research questions
3.1 Main Question
What are the main components involved in the development of a prototype mobile responsive website for water meter reading in the city of Tshwane municipality?
3.2 Specific Questions
What changes will online water meter submission bring to residents
How will online submission of meter reading influence the bill payment?
What are the challenges that will affect the implementation of Water meter reading Website?
What strategy is needed for the water meter reading submission website system to be deployed
4. Research Objectives
4.1 Main Objectives
Determining the components needed in developing a mobile responsive website for water reading submission in the city of Tshwane Municipality
4.2 Specific Objectives
Determining changes which online meter reading will bring to residents
Understanding how online submission of water meter readings will influence bill payments
Identifying challenges with the implementation of a water meter reading website
Identifying factors needed in creating a prototype and proof of concepts for the water meter reading website
Determining the strategies which need to be implemented in deploying the water meter reading website
5. Literature Review
A study done by Maramura ( 2018) looks at recommends the adoption/implementation of ideal potable water provision tools and the systems theory to service delivery asserts and striking a balance between financial sustainability and the social requirements of the service provider is essential in ensuring potable water provision for all. It does not look at the technology needed as well as the possibility of building a system to help Residents submit their meter numbers.
Dibetso (2016) focus was on the information system success of the utility reading system. Looked at the quality of systems used, the quality of the Data collected as well as user satisfaction about the use of these system, his study focus is to get ways of improving these systems so they produce accurate bills.
One of the recommendations done by Ntoane (2011) in his research was that political activities should be developed in communities to encourage people to take responsibility for meter reading on their own like how they do it in Denmark. This recommendation is the reason for the need for a mobile responsive website for such a function
6. Research Methodology
The method which I will use is User-cantered design which is an approach which places users at the centre of a design process because the success of this project will be determined by the residents ability to utilise it as an alternative to the normal way of submitting water meter readings (walk in water meter reading captures, Email submissions, Telephone submissions ). This research will be divided in two parts which are, looking at the readiness of residents to use the method of using mobile responsive website to submit their water meter reading through collecting data which is already available on social media and review websites, the second part will be the methods used in the developing a prototype using PHP, HTML,CSS and MySQL Database, as a proof of concept tool and the deploying of the website. This would be followed by a usability test and a report will be generated to analyse the use and performance of the website.
The creation of a system which is consistent to the changing technology trends is necessary to support the functioning of the municipality. In my view municipality systems should be accessible and available to residents. I therefore see the need for a mobile friendly water meter reading website.
1. Dibetso, m. 2016. Towards improving a utility reading systems success: a case study in the city of johannesburg metropolitan municipality. Faculty of information and communication technology.
2. Khale, s. & Worku, z. 2015. Corporate ownership & control. Corporate ownership & control, 13.
3. Lebatle, n. 2017. Factors that affect non-payment for municipal services in the sekhukhune district municipality. Faculty of management sciences
4. Maramura, t. 2018. The efficacy of prepaid water meters for potable water service provision in the harare city council. Zimbabwe.
5. Mazibuko, g. 2014. The impact of the municipality belling system on revenue collection on selected south african cities. Faculty of economic and management science.
6. Moloto, p. 2016. An evaluation of the water tariff policy. A case study of the thulamela local municipality. Faculty of humanities tshwane university of technology.
7. Prinsloo, i., plessis, j. D. & vosloo, j. 2016. Development and implementation of an development and implementation of an advanced mobile data collection system. University of north west.
8. Ntoane, a. 2002. The problems of devolving water management functions to municipalities: the case of tshwane metropolitan municipality , university of north west
9. City of Tshwane 2019, MeterReadings, Accessed 04 April 2019 www.tshwane.gov.za/sites/residents/MeterReadings/Pages/default.aspx